Darrien Hunt was a 22-year-old African-American who was shot and killed by police officers from the Saratoga Springs Police Department in Utah on Wednesday. Officers say they responded to a report of a “suspicious individual” walking around with a “samurai-type sword,” and after they made initial contact with Hunt, he lunged at them while brandishing the sword.

Hunt’s family believes he was shot while running away, and according to family attorney Randall Edwards, an independent autopsy has found that he was shot six times from behind. CNN covered the story as it stood Tuesday:

“Rest assured that there is more to this story,” police said in a statement on their Facebook page. “Many of the details cannot yet be shared due to the ongoing investigation.”

Hunt was arrested in January on several charges, including assault, child abuse and intoxication, according to county records.

Edwards said that arrest had nothing to do with last week’s shooting, and that Hunt had no history of interactions with the Saratoga Springs Police Department. The arrest came after a fist fight with one of Hunt’s siblings, Edwards said, “and since it was his first offense he was able to have it dropped from his record if he pleaded guilty to the charges.”

“We don’t know exactly what happened, but the fact that a black kid with an Afro was shot while walking down the street by two white officers in a city that is 96% white is concerning,” Edwards said. “There are serious questions as to why officers were questioning him and the use of force in this situation.”

Edwards also told CNN that full details of the independent autopsy will not be revealed until a state examiner releases the results.

Hunt’s mother, Susan, said in an interview with local news outlet KSL that she thought her son might have been angling for a job at the Chinese fast-food chain Panda Express, and that he had bought the sword, which she characterized as a harmless souvenir, from an Asian gift shop.

“They killed my son because he’s black,” Hunt told KSL. “No white boy with a little sword would they shoot while he’s running away.”

— Posted by Donald Kaufman

Watch CNN’s video report about the Hunt case below:

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface.  We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig